Highest Quality Video Playback

javamac

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Dec 12, 2012
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Hey folks. I'm not asking for any help pirating or cracking. These steps are irrelevant to what I'm asking. All I want to know is which file type gives the absolute best video quality. I previously had a similar post closed with the claim that it was related to piracy. That's not the case. My inquiry is related to video playback and a comparison of file types and containers.
If I have duplicate movies, one copy in .iso format, and the other copy in BDMV format, which is going to give the best framerate, picture resolution, audio fidelity, etc?
Also, is one of these two choices the best or should I be considering an alternative format?
I hope this time the post doesn't get closed since it's clearly a legitimate question.
Thanks for any help.
 

Traciatim

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Nov 11, 2006
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The format of the container doesn't really matter all that much, but rather the codec used for compression, the bit rate used, and resolution. You can have an H.264 video that is a lower resolution and lower bit rate that isn't as high quality as an MPEG2 off of a DVD.

You should pick the codec and container that your devices support, and then match the resolution to the devices you will be playing on, and then you want a bit rate that gets the quality you want while matching the space requirements that you have. There is no real best answer because there are so many variables the answer is quite likely different for every use case.

I mean, technically, if you want the absolute best quality you would be using uncompressed or lossless compression, but then a 1080p 30fps video that's an hour long would just a shade under 6MB per frame uncompressed (at full 24-bit per pixel color), or about 178MB a second, 10.43GB per minute, or 625GB per hour. Storage becomes a huge problem with video incredibly quickly.
 

javamac

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Dec 12, 2012
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Thanks a lot for the breakdown. I thought I wouldn't have storage concerns with 12Tb, but obviously that's not the case with your "High-End" description . . . those video formats aren't common from my experience although I'm going to keep an eye out for testing purposes.
You described the 6Mb per second for framerate, and I'm wondering if my computer could even play that back at a consistant speed. I've got twin 660 cards and a 3rd gen i7 chip with 16Gb DDR3 ram. I'm honestly a bit ignorant on which factor improves which spec, but I thought my hardware should be capable of playing back the best of the best. I just don't like discs.
 

Traciatim

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Uncompressed video doesn't take a huge amount of processing, mostly just IO throughput from your storage media. 6MB/frame is about 180MB a second, which can be played off of an SSD or most high speed spinning disks (or a RAID0). You shouldn't be using uncompressed video in most cases anyway, unless you are working on video in a professional capacity anyway.

As for your original question on containers, it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things as long as your device supports the file type and codec used for compression. The container it's in has very little to do with the content inside (think cookies in a cookie jar... the jar itself just holds the good stuff).

I guess the choice of codec really comes down to what you are doing with the video, but generally something like H.264 offers really great quality at very good compression levels allowing you to keep your file sizes manageable. If you are compressing at 7-10Mbps (assuming 1080p, 30fps) which works out to about 850KB - 1.2MB per second, or 3GB - 4.3GB per hour and have some great quality video. You can even get some pretty great results in the 4-7Mbps range depending on your video contents.

Video compression really comes down to balancing priorities of space vs quality.

One thing to keep in mind, you are always going to lose quality when you re-compress something using a lossy format. So if you are doing any editing then try to keep it in the original format or uncompressed until the very last step and then do your compression.

 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator


The issue with the question is that no-one would have an ISO or a BDMV movie file unless they ripped it from a disk, which is likely why your original post was closed. Most people that rip their movies for personal use (say to put on their media center so as not to bother with the disk) would have it in MP4, AVI, DIVX format or something similar. Even that gets into an issue with bypassing the movie security which is still a grey area.
 
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